18/09/2015 | Writer: Kaos GL

Full speech of Ali Erol on behalf of Kaos GL at the International Hrant Dink Award Ceremony:

Kaos GL’s speech at Hrant Dink Award ceremony Kaos GL - News Portal for LGBTI+

Full speech of Ali Erol on behalf of Kaos GL at the International Hrant Dink Award Ceremony:

I would like to salute you all with love and respect, and express my gratitude on behalf of Kaos GL – an organisation that’s been struggling for the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans community for the last twenty years.

On the day when Hrant Dink was taken away from us by those who do not only ‘‘sentence people to a dove’s life of constant fear and disquiet’’ but also claim lives with hatred, we found ourselves having instinctively gathered at our association’s office in Ankara.

Even though the murder of homosexuals upon ‘‘provocation’’ and Armenians ‘‘unintentionally’’ is still considered as something normal and ordinary by the society we live in today, we could sense that the price paid by dearest Hrant was not ‘‘normal’’ at all… While we were looking at each other with worried eyes at our office, the first thing we did was to call our sister organisation Pembe Hayat…

Meanwhile our trans women friends whose lives turned to hell due to insult, harassment, assault, rape, fear of death, blackmail, beating, extortion and police violence were just about to start a hunger strike to claim their right to life. The moment they heard about the heinous assassination of Hrant Dink they abandoned this plan without hesitation.

As homosexuals and trans people, we have lived our entire lives in the ‘‘disquiet’’ that took the life of Hrank Dink whom we remember today with love and longing. When we started our journey, we stated ‘‘there is not only heterosexuals in this society; we are here as well’’…

When we started our struggle striving to overcome the imposed blockade and besiege, and to get out of our ghettos we locked ourselves in for the sake of survival in the last ninety years; we knew well that we could not be emancipated only by ourselves.

Instead of limiting our struggle with fight against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and sexual identity, we have voiced and spread our appeal that said the emancipation of homosexuals will also liberate heterosexuals…

What is it that covered up by the gates sealed by nationalism?

Just as the Armenian community asks for ‘‘justice, and not mercy’’, the LGBT community has resisted to this very date by chanting ‘‘we are here, we don’t go anywhere, better get used to us’’…

We know well that we cannot be successful in our combat against homophobia and transphobia without struggling against racism and nationalism. Having this in mind, for all these years, we have not only fought against the borders of heterosexism, but also against the borders of sexism, nationalism, racism and militarism…

Unless we figure out the linkages between different forms of discrimination, and unless we build horizontal networks across anti-discrimination practices and struggles for freedom, we will be doomed to make circles around our own ‘‘causes’’…

Hrant Dink, whom we remember today with love and longing, remains to be ‘‘our’’ Hrant Dink, because he refused to make rounds in his own circle and especially because his appeal for a collective transformation and collective emancipation did reach out to people here at home and also abroad…

Therefore, as Kaos GL, we do not refrain from simultaneously asking the questions ‘‘whose matter is homophobia?’’ and ‘‘what is it that covered up by the gates sealed by nationalism?’’

Open the border gate

Those who insist in seeing homosexuals and Armenians as ‘‘decoration’’ or as ‘‘enemy of the nation’’, as they please, will always be out there…

We have a straightforward message to those who attempt to love us as a mere ‘‘decoration’’: Do not open the ‘‘gate to your hearts’’; open the ‘‘border gate’’… You must abandon your ‘‘deportation’’ blackmail and ‘‘guest’’ status persecution; and instead grant residence and work permit to the migrant workers from Armenia, the so-called ‘‘illegal’’, ‘‘irregular’’ migrants…

We want to remind that opening the Armenia border - without preconditions and delay - is not a favour or mercy, but a historical and actual requirement…

We do know that we are all poisoned by the nation-state project, both as citizens and the state… In the centenary of 1915, the politicians of this country did see no harm in publicly uttering these words: ‘‘They have called me all sorts of names. They called me Georgian. I beg your pardon but they called me even uglier names. They said I am Armenian. But I am a Turk’’…

The lands of Anatolia and Mesopotamia are fertile lands. Yet, we all went through the same poisonous cultivation and socialization processes. And since we are poisoned by the nationstate project, we do not fit into the yeast and spirit of these lands!

This being the case, unless we assume the responsibility of dearest Hrant’s prescription for liberating ourselves from historical traumas about Armenians– something that cost him his life, and unless we acknowledge this as the only way out of Turk’s own paranoia, that poison will continue to flow in from anywhere and pollute us regardless of the political overtures and initiatives…

Hrant’s question is still waiting for an answer

Therefore, we continue to remind to those who - as they see fit - continue to see us as ‘‘enemy of the nation’’ that this ‘‘nation’’ is in fact a fake one as a whole…

We know that as racist and nationalistic discourses become institutionalised through state policies, the borders between countries do turn into insurmountable barriers between societies…

Today, despite all these borders, if we as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans movement have been able to build bridges between various struggles for freedom; we will certainly never give up on our joint struggle against homophobia, transphobia, racism and nationalism…

Killed as a consequence of the 1915 mentality, the question posed by Hrant Dink – the Editorin-Chief of Agos newspaper - is still waiting for an answer:

“Are we going to act like those responsible for the great catastrophe that happened in the past? Or are we going to learn our lessons and fill the new pages of history with decency and humanity?’’

As Kaos GL, we will continue to seek answers to this question through our joint struggle and partnership with the constituents of the LGBT community in Armenia…

We know that the way to liberate ourselves in rainbows is to relentlessly express the truth, which is obscured and shadowed by nationalism. And we do assume this responsibility…

Today, you have not only honoured Kaos GL’s twenty years of struggle for a more free and just world freed from discrimination, racism and violence, but without any doubt you have also honoured our joint LGBT movement – as our organisation is one of its constituents.

As I conclude my words on behalf of Kaos GL, I would like to once again salute everyone who granted us this award that keeps alive the legacy of dearest Hrant Dink…


Tags: human rights
Nefret